Two Much

on March 15, 1996 by Wade Major
   There's something frustrating about the regularity with which acclaimed foreign directors lose their luster every time they make the jump to Hollywood, and Spain's Fernando Trueba is no exception. In "Two Much," his English-language follow-up to 1993's Oscar-winning "Belle Epoque," Trueba recycles the "one man/many sisters" scenario for more commercial tastes, albeit with far less artistic results.
   A serviceable though unoriginal farce adapted by Trueba and his brother David from the Donald E. Westlake novel, this Interscope production (arriving via Disney's Touchstone banner) centers on a Miami fine-art hustler, aptly named Art (Antonio Banderas), who finds himself engaged to be married literally overnight after a ditzy heiress named Betty (Melanie Griffith) rescues him from a hustle gone awry. Before Art can call the vows off, he falls in love with Betty's more down-to-earth sister, Liz (Daryl Hannah), who, unfortunately, doesn't think much of Art. Like any self-respecting hustler, Art resolves to detangle his dilemma by complicating it beyond all imagination, inventing a more "sensitive" twin named Bart who will woo Liz while Art keeps Betty at bay. It comes as no surprise that the remainder of the film plays desperately thin, relying on one-note gags that basically consist of Banderas frantically running from point A to point B, changing his identities in-between and forever trying to prevent the sisters from figuring out why neither ever sees the brothers together.
   "Two Much" isn't devoid of laughs, thanks primarily to Joan Cusack's turn as Art's wiseacre secretary, Gloria. Also faring well in a more serious role is Danny Aiello as Betty's two-time ex-husband Gene, a temperamental thug determined to make their third time the charm. In the end, given the dearth of decent film farces in recent years, it's hard to fault Trueba too much for his effort, even if it does play like an overlong episode of "Three's Company." Starring Antonio Banderas, Melanie Griffith and Daryl Hannah. Directed by Fernando Trueba. Written by Fernando and David Trueba. Produced by Christina Huete. A Buena Vista release. Romantic comedy. Rated PG-13 for sex-related scenes and dialogue. Running time: 115 min
Tags: Antonio Banderas, Melanie Griffith, Daryl Hannah, Directed by Fernando Trueba, Written by Fernando, David Trueba, Produced by Christina Huete, A Buena Vista release, Romantic comedy, secretary, brothers, love, hustler

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